How to Thicken Chili: 5 Chili Recipes to Try at Home

How to Thicken Chili: 5 Chili Recipes to Try at Home
Pixabay - Photo by remcoos culiflowers
SHARE - Chili con carne, meaning 'chili with meat', is either a Northern Mexican or Southern Texan dish. Also known as chili, Chili con carne is a spicy stew containing chili peppers, meat, and often tomatoes with beans. You may find other seasonings included such as garlic, onions, and cumin.

Thick, saucy, and hearty consistencies is what the dish is known for. But there are times where you're left with too much liquid in your homemade chili. Luckily, there are numerous ways you can try to thicken chili.

If you're looking for the answer, keep reading this article to learn more about how to thicken chili!

1. How to thicken chili in a slow cooker

If you’re wondering how to thicken chili in a slow cooker, you can make use of flour slurry. It is a combination of starch (usually cornstarch, flour, potato starch, or arrowroot) and cold water which is mixed together and used to thicken a soup or sauce.

To make one and thicken your chili in a slow cooker, simply follow the steps below:

Step 1. Equal parts of flour (or corn starch) and water, then mix them thoroughly.

Step 2. Bring chili to a boil and gradually add the flour slurry to the pot until the desired consistency is reached.

Step 3. You’re obviously going to need to take the chili out of the slow cooker (at least temporarily) to bring it to a boil. Otherwise, you’ll get a raw flour taste and the chili will not thicken as you desire.

If you are against taking the chili out of the crockpot, you can also use cornmeal, masa harina, or polenta to thicken it.

2. How to thicken white chicken chili

White chili, made with cannellini beans and chicken, is a delicious alternative to beefy chilies and is a hearty winter meal. If you want to thicken this delicious chili by pureeing some of the beans using a food processor or blender, you can do so by following this simple procedure:

Step 1. Before adding canned beans to the chili, puree half of the canned beans with 1 cup of chicken broth in a food processor or blender.

Step 2. Add the pureed beans and remaining whole beans to the chili.

Step 3. Simmer the chili until it thickens.

3. How to thicken chili with flour

Flickr - Photo by Ree Drummond

If you want to thicken your chili fast using flour, bear in mind not to just add it directly to the pot, otherwise, the flour will clump and you'll spend the next couple of hours trying to de-clump the clumps. Instead, follow these tips to do it better:

Step 1. Use a bowl. To the bowl, add 1-2 tablespoons of flour and a cup of hot liquid from the chili. 

Step 2. Mix/whisk both until combined. 

Step 3. Add this mixture to your chili and stir until combined. 

Step 4. Your chili will thicken in 20-30 minutes.

4. How to thicken chili with masa - Photo by

Another alternative on how to thicken chili is by adding masa harina to the dish. Adding 2 to 3 tablespoon (30 to 45 ml) of either cornmeal or masa harina straight to the chili will pretty much do the job. Here are some tips worth trying when you choose this method.

- Add the cornmeal or masa to the chili without mixing any water into it first. Mix it in thoroughly so that it absorbs some of the liquid, thickening it up.

- Let the chili simmer for an additional 5 to 7 minutes after adding the thickener. Adding masa will affect the taste of the chili. It can impart the taste of polenta or tortilla shells to the liquid, so be mindful when adding it.

5. How to thicken chili with cornmeal

Unlike all-purpose flour, cornmeal adds a subtle earthy flavor to the chili in addition to thickening it up. You can use either white or yellow cornmeal that is fine to medium-grain. Just make sure to avoid using coarse-grind cornmeal for it has a larger grain that won't dissolve properly in the chili. Also avoid dry cornbread mixes, which may contain other ingredients like flour and sugar.

If you want to thicken your chili this way, simply follow the procedure below:

Step 1. Cook your chili.

Step 2. Add one to two tablespoons of cornmeal at the end of the cooking time.

Step 3. Stir it into the pot and let the chili simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

Step 4. Stir frequently until you've reached your desired texture.


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